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Live From NBA All-Star 2024: TNT Sports To Deploy 120 Cameras Across Two Venues, Two Compounds

17/02/2024

Live From NBA All-Star 2024: TNT Sports To Deploy 120 Cameras Across Two Venues, Two Compounds A packed preparation schedule limited sharing of resources By Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director

Saturday, February 17, 2024 - 6:08 pm

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February has become the month of big-time sports productions, and TNT Sports' production of NBA All-Star in Indianapolis continues the streak. More than 120 cameras will be used to capture the skills competitions, games, studio shows, concerts, practices, alternative broadcasts, and more.

We have 31 cameras over at Lucas Oil Stadium and around 40 on hand at the [Gainbridge] Fieldhouse for the game on Sunday, says Chris Brown, VP, technology and operations, TNT Sports. When you add in the entertainment and studio shows, you get to around 117 cameras.

This year's event marks the first time since 2015, when the event was held in New York, that the NBA All-Star Game and NBA All-Star Saturday Night were not located in the same building. Lucas Oil Stadium will be home to NBA All-Star Saturday Night, and Gainbridge Fieldhouse will host events on Friday and Sunday.

One of the biggest things is that it does take twice as many resources because each compound needs to be self-contained, says Brown. Even in a world where we have all of this technology to do remote productions and all those kinds of things, they don't really come into play like you might think.

The reason is the intense schedule of preparation involved for a weekend of shows that have grown deeper and more complex over the years, he explains. Everything is driven by the schedule of events. There are rehearsals and setup time and all these different things that are overlapping between both venues.

For example, it took a little longer than expected to install an LED court at Lucas Oil Stadium. The good news was that, by the time it was installed, on Tuesday morning, two full basketball courts had been constructed next to it for practices and the trucks and production facilities in the compound were ready to get connected to the venue.

A little snow didn't slow setup efforts to get NEP EN1 ready for NBA All-Star 2024.

The Lucas Oil Stadium compound is centered on NEP ND2 (A, B, C, and D) units, which will do the All-Star Saturday Night broadcast while NEP Supershooter 6 handles the studio show. NBA TV will rely on Lyon Video 11, and X/Twitter will produce content out of Live Media Group trucks. Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where the All-Star Game will be played on Sunday night, has NEP EN1 (A, B, C, and E) at its core, with Supershooter 5 handling the entertainment content, Lyon Video 14 used by NBA TV, and another Live Media Group truck for X/Twitter. Mobile TV Group is also on hand, with both 46 Flex and 47 Flex helping NBA Entertainment and the international feed. Mobile TV Group's Edge software-defined production system was used for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's press conference.

Mobile TV Group's Edge system in use at NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's press conference

Last year's big news at NBA All-Star was the use of NEP's TFC (Total Facility Control) IP networking platform. In year two of TFC, Brown notes that the team has had a chance to fully prepare for it. That was a big change last year, and we had the NEP TFC engineer and networking teams onsite. This year, they were able to put these trucks together much earlier so that, when the operators showed up, they could get to work.

TNT Sports is running two separate TFC networks. According to Brown, there were discussions about creating one large ring. The breadth and scale of the rehearsals and practices and differences in the schedules made shared facilities and staff difficult, he says of the ultimate decision to have two rings.

A New Era: An LED Court NBA All-Star enters a new era of technology this weekend. For the All-Star Celebrity Game and other events at Lucas Oil Stadium, the NBA has installed an LED court from German company ASB GlassFloor. The giant LED screen has more than 24 million pixels, and Brown expects it to be an exciting addition.

It's something the NBA has been trying to execute for a long time, he notes. They were just waiting for the right venue and the right timing. They've been able to incorporate some player tracking, stats, and other interesting things, and it's going to be interesting to see how the fans react to it. From what I saw yesterday, it feels like the NBA did a good job of programming the floor.

The impact that the LED court has had on operations and engineering is minimal because all the elements were created by and will be played back by the NBA's team via a media server.

We had our video-shader team run through all the different looks so they could see what would be on the court and then make adjustments to the cameras, says Brown. On Sunday, we will [have] our regular AR elements [at the Fieldhouse] like the shot clock from Brand Brigade. I do want to give a shout-out to Dan Nabors, senior director, remote engineering and operations, TNT Sports, and Lee Estroff, senior director, strategic production planning, TNT Sports, for overseeing that side of things, which will be done remotely from Atlanta.

Estroff also oversaw another interesting addition to the production: a MindFly POV body camera worn by a referee last night and again on Sunday.

They've worked really hard for the past couple of years to get the camera to where we needed it and also so that it would get league approval, says Brown. Estroff helped usher it through the NBA, and we're excited to use it for both Friday and Sunday night. Setup is quick, deployment is easy, and we're clear on the RF side.

Canon cameras will be used for shallow-depth-of-field acquisition during NBA All-Star.

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LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/02/17/live-from-nba-all-star-tnt-spor...
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